Municipal Resilience during Crisis - Kfar Saba's Municipality Response to the COVID-19 Crisis
In the SME4SMARTCITIES project we are studying and collaborating with cities across the Mediterranean. The recent COVID-19 crisis, lock-downs and emergency situation allowed us to see how cities respond, work with SMEs and support their citizens during the crisis
Municipalities need to manage a complex array of services and to maintain continuous efficient coordination between its departments and with external providers. In times of a severe crisis, such as the Covid-19 epidemic, they need to continue to manage this complex network, add emergency services on top of them and adjust projects to the crisis. How can municipalities achieve this and maintain resilience? This is how the municipality of Kfar Saba, Israel, managed the COVID-19 crisis.
The outbreak of the Covid-19 virus resulted in a rapidly spreading global epidemic that forced states and cities around the world to take quick steps to protect their citizens. National-level and international lock-downs, changing directives of government ministries, a global state of unfolding emergency and the shift of the focus of attention to the health system, have required municipalities to quickly make necessary adjustments and to initiate an appropriate response.
Municipalities are required to provide responses across the board to be able to maintain a high level of services for their residents despite the emerging restrictions. They need to assist their residents with great sensitivity, to attend to a wide-scope mental stress that arise from coping with the closure of workplaces, schools and shopping centers and from the intensity of emergency situation news and changing instructions to the public. This becomes even more complex when the city's offices themselves need to close their doors because of the Covid-19 epidemic.
Conducting communications with suppliers and continuing work during the emergency has a great impact on municipal resilience. Yet at this time of crisis, maintaining regular operations is not enough. it is important to find and to implement innovative products and services that can provide new solutions and help in addressing the crisis. This is a time of a major challenge to the resilience and the capacity to adapt of the municipality organization itself.